What a year!

Masaki Batoh at Bring To Light

Each end of year round up we’ve done in recent times seems to involve a few ‘wow, huge year’ mutters, but 2013 might have just surpassed them all. We produced a four-month opening season for Europe’s largest public library as well as our year round Capsule programme; to feature all the stuff we’re proud to have presented would be damn near impossible, but here are just some of our highlights of an epic year. Images by Katja Ogrin.

Discovery season at Library of Birmingham

 Together We Breathe – opening day

The season began with a magnificent performance by over 100 brass players. Encircling the crowds on opening day in the Book Rotunda, Together We Breathe brought together horns, trumpets, trombones, cornets and tubas to create a mass of sound. The performance was created by Australian sound artists Super Critical Mass and the project was documented by the BBC for the Culture Show.


Pavilion Photography is by Gareth Gardner

The Pavilion and creative residencies

Studio Myerscough created a structure to act as a billboard for the entire Discovery Programme. Situated in the Library foyer, The Pavilion housed a rolling programme of creative residencies. A neon crown of signs uses words that originated from discussions and workshops with the Birmingham 2022 group. Residencies included Craftspace inviting stories of migration, the stunning Library of Lost Books, Stan’s Café’s Commentators and The Outcrowd Collective’s delving in the House of Beorma Archive.

Lucy McLauchlan’s piece spans the Book Rotunda

Discovery Trail

Capsule curated a trail of art works to lead visitors around the library. Laura Kate Chapman’s illustrations were inspired by the Parker Collection of Children’s Books and Games, Matt Watkins created an animation piece inspired by the world’s most expensive book and Lucy Lucy McLauchlan’s site specific work in the Book Rotunda gave some remembrance to John Madin’s library.

Discover New Music

A series of live music performances showcased some of the most exciting music around. Rhys Chatham and Charlemagne Palestine performed a UK exclusive collaboration, with added cuddly toys and audience debate and Portishead’s Adrian Utley headed a large-scale guitar orchestra.  Rise of Birmingham saw some of Capsule favourite bands from the region perform in the library, including Victories at Sea and Free School.

Tucking into dessert at Down the Rabbit Hole

Other highlights included the literary inspired dining experience Down the Rabbit Hole, presented by Companis, and Volume: Birmingham’s Art, Book & Print fair with a keynote from Bill Drummond. We’re really proud of the Birmingham 2022 project, where a group of young people worked with us on Discovery season brochure, and were given a platform to ponder the shape of culture in ten years.

University of Birmingham artist residency

We embarked upon a new partnership with the University of Birmingham, supporting an artist to make new work in response to the university’s varied collections. Sound artist Sarah Farmer spent a number of months researching at the Lapworth Museum of Geology and the Winterbourne botanical collection and created a number of sound based works, as well as screenprints, in response to her time there. It was very exciting to introduce an artist to this collection, there’s a wealth of stuff to draw inspiration from and we look forward to doing more work with the university in the future.

Richard Dawson performed a Kids Gig

Bring To Light

Our mini Supersonic saw us invading the library with new music, from Masaki Batoh’s brain pulse noise, Robedoor’s bass heavy drone and the filthy noise rock of Evil Blizzard, we didn’t hold back. We kicked it all off at the Rainbow from a messy Friday night with Sleaford Mods (video), Dinos Chapman and the fabulous Shangaan Electro who also performed a free show in the library amphitheatre. Other highlights included Sarah Angliss and her theramin laden story telling, an info show around pioneer Delia Derbyshire and a Kids Gig performance from Capsule favourite Richard Dawson.

Shellac at the Rainbow Warehouse

Live shows

Our first live show of the year was such a standout, Barn Owl, Grumbling Fur and Ex Easter Island at the stunning St Paul’s church. Other highlights of the year  have included Nazoranai (Stephen O’Malley, Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi) and Nicholas Bullen at the CBSO Centre and a night with Mississippi records exploring the phenomenal Alan Lomax archive with Vivid Projects. And let’s not forget that the mighty Shellac were back in Birmingham last month, thanks to all who came and made it such a fun show, the band said you were a particularly lovely crowd!

Thanks to all who have come along, watch this space for news of next year’s programme.

 

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Bureau of Lost Discoveries – final residency

This week sees the pavilion house its final residency of the Discovery season. A suitcase and a sense of adventure go hand in hand, whether it is a box of memories, exploits, danger or just the everyday, it has the potential to be filled with a sense of wonder. Playing on this intriguing atmosphere, Scottish theatre maker Eric MacLennan has invented an installation that is both performance and art.

The creator of many bold, audience based works over the last twenty-eight years, MacLennan uses entertainment to encourage his spectators to think. Inspired by the writing of Xavier De Maistre, who was devoted to uncovering the interesting in everyday life, MacLennan wishes to encourage an audience to discover the exciting aspects in their own world. In his realm, you’ll learn that the norm can become extraordinary and new.

Come and take part all this week.

 

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Home of Metal Family Tree tea towel – back in stock


Back by very popular demand is the Home of Metal Family Tree tea towel. Illustrated by Bunny Bissoux, the map traces the tangled web of heavy metal history. A lovely Christmas present we reckon, but make sure you get your order in by Thursday 19th December at the latest. Visit our shop.

Home of Metal is a celebration of the music that was born in the Black Country and Birmingham – check out, and contribute to, the digital archive.

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Harvesting Stories – Sat 14 December

Credit: Secret Recipe, New Art Gallery Walsall (2009); image courtesy of the artist

Harvesting Stories: Food and STORIES

This Saturday there’ll be a host of food activities at the Library of Birmingham.

Between 12-4pm in the Book Rotunda Feng-Ru Lee will be making ‘Secret Dumplings’ and invites you to write a secret on edible paper which will then be made into delicious dumplings for you to eat.

We’re delighted to welcome National Storytelling Laureate Katrice Horsley to perform Spiced Tales of Brum (2-3pm in the Studio Theatre). This hour-long performance will weave together tales, stories and recipes collected at the ‘Harvesting Stories’ workshops that took place in community centres and libraries throughout Birmingham during summer 2013. It’s completely free, you can book in advance at www.birmingham-box.co.uk

Credit: Workshop at Birmingham Chinese Society, July 2013; image Katja Ogrin

From 12-4pm, our food-artist in residence Lizzy Bean will be erecting her Serbian cooking range on the 3rd Floor Terrace – join her for mulled spiced apple juice and some delicious gingerbread for you to decorate (and eat).

Credit:(B)read by Lizzie Bean, Harvesting Stories, Sep 2013; image K Ogrin

To celebrate the cultural diversity of 21st century Birmingham, Harvesting Stories has been developed to bring its people and their favourite food together.

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Trading Post 10-15 December

Trading Post is an exhibition of art ‘for trade’, a cornucopia of work made by artists from Birmingham and beyond. Taking a cue from the TV classic Multi Coloured Swap Shop, all the artworks in the exhibition will be available to swap. Visit the Pavilion in the Library foyer, peruse their wares and make an offer.

Offers can include time, skills, things or expertise – anything except money of any currency – ‘art for a haircut’, ‘art for cake’, ‘art for life coaching’ ‘art for welding’ for example. Once an offer has been made it
will be made public and if the contributing artist decides to take up the offered trade the swap will be arranged. Bartering and negotiation is welcome, and encouraged. .

Trading Post is presented by ESP (Extra Special People). This project is an extension of  ‘Trade Show’, a group exhibition at Eastside Projects that runs from 7 December 2013 – 22 February 2014.  ESP is Eastside Projects’ associate members scheme.

Events:
Thursday 12 December 2013, 6.30-7.30pm
Matthew Raine will give a talk on Marxist Economics during which artist Faith Pearson will make a series of small sculptures available for exchange to those attending.

Saturday 14 December 2013, 2-4pm
ESP members will present a series of conversations and performances.

List of artists:

Stuart Barnes / Leah Carless / Carruthers & Cresswell / Mateus Domingos / Freya Dooley / Mathew Ferguson / Bob Gelsthorpe / Andrew Gillespie / Calum Greaney / Amanda Grist / Aly Grimes / Maya Darrell Hewins / Kurt Hickson / Jim Howieson / Sarah Isaacs / Sam Jones / Ayse Kolu / Lucy McAllister / Kat Newman / Dan Newso / Susie Olczak / Faith Pearson / Sarah Silverwood / Laura Reeves

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RIP Nelson Mandela


“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

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Rollerprinting workshop today

 

‘Inspired by Brion Gysin’s use of adapted rollers, join artist Stephen Fowler in his collaborative experimental printing workshop, learn how to adapt paint rollers to be utilised as a repeat patterned printing medium and contribute to a series of large relief printed patterned grid prints.’

Stephen Fowler’s workshop is free, all welcome from 12noon in the Cafe Mezz of the library.

The Fair is open til 5pm today, Footprint are here making a zine in a day, and there’s a series of free panels, including the Paperless Stack with figures from major libraries talking about the impact digital tech has on the role of the library.

 

 

 

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Volume opening events tomorrow – feat. Bill Drummond

Bill Drummond, the co-founder of eighties avant-garde band The KLF, will deliver the keynote speech and present a talk on Thursday 5th December, Books: 12 Years, 25 Paintings, 100 Questions, & The 17, as part of a three-day event celebrating independent publishing – Volume: Birmingham’s Art, Book & Print Fair.

The event starts at 7pm at the Library of Birmingham and also features Morag Myerscough (designer of the Pavilion) and the Highliners, a punk rock design performance! Tickets are still available for £8/£10 from www.birmingham-box.co.uk

And tomorrow afternoon we’ll begin proceedings at 1pm at the library with a fascinating afternoon delving into the opportunities that new technologies bring to publishing and writing, this will include a Writing for Digital platforms workshop and a panel featuring Clare Reddington, Director of the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, with Dave Addey, Managing Director of leading app development studio Agant; Tom Abba, lecturer in narrative theory at UWE, Bristol and member of artist collective Circumstance; Charlotte Quickenden, Managing Director of digital agency Bow Software; Laura Kriefman, Founder and Choreographer with innovative dance company Guerilla Dance Project.

It’s only £3 for the workshop and panel from www.birmingham-box.co.uk, or if you have a ticket for the Bill Drummond event this entitles you to free entry – just email admin@capsule.org.uk with your ticket confirmation.

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